Though the attempts of those who despise the Word of God are very daring,
yet not one tittle of it shall fail.
Though many a Bible be burned, this cannot abolish it nor deter the accomplishment of its prophecies.
1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.
5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:
6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
7 It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.
8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’S house.
9 And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.
10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house, in the ears of all the people.
11 ¶ When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD,
12 Then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.
13 Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people.
14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.
15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.
16 Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.
17 And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?
18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
19 Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.
20 ¶ And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.
21 So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.
22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.
24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.
25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.
26 But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.
27 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,
28 Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.
29 And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?
30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.
31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.
32 ¶ Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.
Jeremiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Jeremiah 36 – A Vain Attempt to Destroy God’s Word
These written words had been directly given from God, Jeremiah 36:18. The fast was instituted to seek divine help in the approaching conflict with Nebuchadnezzar. But of what good is a fast while the evils of apostasy and disobedience are unredressed? It was against these that Jeremiah protested; and his words were read to a vast concourse of people by Baruch his faithful friend. It was the month of December, and the royal chamber was warmed by a brazier of burning charcoal. As Jehudi read, the godless king cut the roll with a penknife and consigned it to the fire. All down the ages false priests have dealt thus with the Word that condemned them. But a sailor does not escape shipwreck by destroying the chart which indicates the rocks on which he is drifting. God’s words are eternal, though the material on which they are written may perish. He who rejects God’s truth does so at his peril, while God hides His faithful servants in the secret of His presence, secure from the attacks of enemies. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Jeremiah 36:23—Jehudi cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire.
It was an audacious and foolish act. Only a fool or a madman could have trifled thus. He did not relish the prophet’s words, and so he cut them to pieces; but though he destroyed them, he could not in this way arrest the penalties which they foretold. Indeed, he increased them: “There were added besides unto them many like words” (Jeremiah 36:32). The criminal may tear up the warrant for his arrest; but it will not help his case. The captain may destroy the map which indicates the rocks in his course; but that will not rob them of the cruel fangs with which they will pierce the timbers of his ship. Men may deride and destroy the Bible; but this will not empty the future of hell, or hell of its bitter remorse.
We are all tempted to use the pen-knife to God’s Book. There are passages in it which we do not like; those that cross our favorite notions, our cherished sins. Practically, we eliminate them. We never read them, or we explain them away, or profess to doubt their inspiration. We have no right to set certain passages of Scripture aside because they conflict with our notions of truth or system of theology. The scientific man will not adopt a law while one fact refuses to be included in it. The commercial man will not close his books while a shilling is unaccounted for. Blessed as the habit is of listening for God’s voice within, we must never forget the absolute necessity of its corroboration from the words of Scripture.
It is wise, therefore, to read the Scriptures with an open and unbiased mind, not bringing our preconceptions, like pen-knives, to cut out what we do not agree with, but meekly inquiring what it may please the Lord our God to speak. —Our Daily Homily